A (very) small subsect of the Aeldari as a whole, the Harlequins are an elite close range force that has a strong melee punch as well as lots of ways to control the flow of battle.
Aeldari: Harlequins Tactical Guide | Warhammer 40,000 Tactical Guide
- A huge range of tricks and abilities to keep the momentum of the game in your hands
- Powerful melee combatants backed up with potent short ranged offence
- Blisteringly fast and have tons of utility for moving around the battlefield
- With army wide Invulnerables and ways to reduce enemy accuracy, they’re some of the “toughest” space elves around
- They’re Murder Clowns
- A tiny army selection if run by themselves, with a grand total of 8 units, making most armies some derivative of each other
- Can struggle into anything with mass T5 and above in melee, as well as Damage Reduction, given the bulk of their offence is Str 4 and/or D2.
- Whilst they have good defences, T3 on the majority of their units only goes so far and massed attacks will quickly tear them down
- Can quickly lose steam as units are dwindled down and CP are burnt at speed to facilitate their tricks
- They’re Murder Clowns
Here are some key points to remember when reading this Primer, mainly to save it being typed out every time. Don’t forget that this presumes you have the Codex, so some basic things may not be explained here.
Any of the rules discussed below apply only to HARLEQUINS models with the same <SAEDATH> Keyword, so no overlapping or crossing of Auras (no LIGHT Auras or powers affecting DARK units, or using the Veil of Tears power to protect a ASURYANI unit, for example).
Some common shorthand terms found throughout-
- X++ means an invulnerable save
- X+++, or ‘shrug’, ‘Feel No Pain’ or ‘Ignore Damage roll’ depending on how you’re feeling, means it is a dice roll to ignore each point of damage, which is taken after any failed saves.
- ‘6s explode’ essentially translates to ‘An unmodified 6 to Hit does an additional hit’, so read that as ‘Does 2 Hits instead of 1’. Per the Core Rules, anything that might also happen on a 6 to hit (such as auto-wounding) does not apply to the additional hit, only the original.
- ‘First turn of combat’ means any rules that trigger when you Charge, are Charged, or Heroically Intervene.
- ‘Deep Strike’ essentially means the unit can be placed into Reinforcements and arrive more than 9” away from enemy units.
If your Detachment is Battle-Forged (which will be most armies) and only has HARLEQUINS units in it.
- Travelling Players- Technically a rule for the ASURYANI side of the Codex, as well as DRUKHARI, but included here for reference. This basically means you can take a single Patrol of HARLEQUINS in other Eldar armies even though they don’t share a Faction Keyword, and they don’t prevent them from getting their ‘Pure’ Ability, ie Strands of Fate or Power From Pain, as well as their Secondaries and any other ‘your whole Army must be X’ rules. The Harlequin Detachment even gets to have their Saedath Characteristations, letting you add a flexible fighting force to cover a gap you might need.
- Objective Secured- All your
TroopsTroupes are Objective Secured. Pretty standard, whilst they aren’t the toughest Infantry around, they’re cheap enough for you to have lots of them, as well as being good bully units to push most other units off Objectives. Your deployment and movement abilities also give you a good amount of flexibility to nab Objectives left unguarded. Defending them might prove trickier however, so you’ll need to plan accordingly.
- Lead Role- If you choose a HARLEQUINS model as your WARLORD, it must be a TROUPE MASTER. It’s a fluffy rule, and won’t drastically alter your playstyles or Trait decisions all too much.
- Saedath Characterisations- Your “Chapter Tactics”, discussed below.
Every SAEDATH unit gains a Characterisation, provided the whole army is from the same SAEDATH, granting them unique abilities, as well as access to a Warlord Trait, Stratagem and should your WARLORD have the associated Characterisation, you are also eligible to have their Relic too.
You only have 3 to choose from, and no custom Saedaths, but each one gives your army a very distinct and clear advantage in some aspects of the Harlequins playstyle. With the inability to mix and match Detachments and your already datasheets, the decision of Saedath will likely not heavily influence your army build in so much as determine particular playstyles and unit loadouts.
Characterisation- Blaze of Light
The Moving/Shooty/Defensive Saedath, granting your units the ability to Move or Advance and still count as Stationary for Shooting purposes, as well as making any Hit rolls of 1-3 automatically fail if the Attacker is over 12” away. This makes your VEHICLES and SKYWEAVERS particularly fantastic, letting them move around with impunity and not sacrificing any shooting output, and coupled with their built in prevention of rerolls to Hit against them, they become particularly difficult to shift. It also allows your Pistol toting INFANTRY to still contribute whilst advancing around, making them effective nearly all the time. The main issue with this is once you get within 12” the Hit element drops off, and any time you’re not Advancing means you’re not gaining the shooting benefit, whilst conversely Advancing prevents your VEHICLES from potentially charging. It also doesn’t stack so well with the built in -1 to Hit your VEHICLES have, as anything with BS3 was already hitting on 4s, and anything with BS 4 or worse doesn’t care about the set accuracy, so it only really applies to BS 2 models, and against stacking modifiers. Still, it’s useful to have, and can really provide some potent survivability in the early stages of the game.
Warlord Trait- Player of the Light
Your WARLORD gets a 6” Heroic Intervention, as well as +1 Str and A on the turn they Charge or Heroically Intervene. This helps you make some particularly strong melee MASTERS, and is a simple but usually always effective combat boost.
Relic- Shadow Stone
A SHADOWSEER gets +3” to their Auras as well as +3” on the Range of any Phantasmancy Powers they cast. SHADOWSEERS have access to some very powerful Aura abilities, and the Phantasmancy Discipline is home to some potent effects, making this a great all round Relic to have, offering them some extra utility and granting you extra options in terms of positioning.
Stratagem- Capricious Reflections
When one of your units that is not within Engagement Range is Charged, instead of firing Overwatch or Setting to Defend, you can immediately make a 6” Normal Move. This is a powerful defensive tool to help you should you find a unit caught flatfooted or out of position, and whilst your opponent can declare a new Charge after you do this, it can throw a serious wrench in their plans. For 1 CP this is a great ability to have in your toolkit.
Characterisation- Dark Deeds
The Bully/Trading Saedath, it grants your units an extra -1AP with all your Melee attacks, and models destroyed by Melee attacks get to Fight after the Attacker is finished, provided they haven’t already fought this phase. This is a brute force Saedath on the offence, improving your AP to significant levels and making your damage really stick after wounding. On the flipside, the Fight on Death means nothing if you’re the one on the attack, but heavily punishes interrupting, ongoing combats, or being charged yourself, making them very tricky to deal with via melee, and can cause lots of difficult decisions for your opponent, especially in games with multiple combats, or armies with reliance on melee units. Whilst the two are somewhat contradictory in application, together they offer a potent combination that covers both offence, as well as a pseudo ‘defence’. The major downside is of course they are both entirely melee based, meaning to really benefit you need to get stuck in, which Harlequins probably want to be doing anyways, so it’s not a terrible downside.
Warlord Trait- Player of the Dark
Each time the WARLORD Wounds on a 5+ with Melee, they do an additional Mortal Wound. It’s decent enough, usually netting 1-2 Mortals per combat, and can add some extra punch, but it’s nothing incredibly fancy.
Relic- The Ghoul Mask
The bearer can attempt to Deny 1 Power, and has a 3” Aura of “No ObSec” for enemy models, which is a very powerful tool to have, despite the short range. This helps Harlequins fight over Objectives easier, and is especially useful against armies with very tough or numerous ObSec that they might have trouble otherwise shifting, like Custodes, Knights or certain Marine builds.
Stratagem- The Silken Knife
One enemy unit cannot Overwatch or Set to Defend for a Charge Phase. For 1 CP this is a good Stratagem to have, denying potent Overwatch from things like Flamers or certain T’au units, or just not having to worry about a stray bullet on a 1 Wound Character. A key thing to note here is it affects the enemy unit, which can be important for both certain abilities that can affect how your Stratagems work, as well as still preventing them from Overwatching should you fail a charge with your first unit that declares against them.
Characterisation- Twilight Falls
The Melee/Positioning Saedath, giving you +1A in the first round of Combat, and +2” to all your Pile In and Consolidation moves. This allows you to both hit a bit harder in combat, as well enabling some potent plays for tagging other units, wrapping, or moving onto Objectives. The melee aspect is comparable to the AP boost that Dark gives (being slightly worse against units with better Armour, but better against lighter more numerous units, as you’d expect), whilst the Movement gives you the ability to play the mission as well as the disruption game a bit better rather than directly punishing units that try to catch you out. This plays into the Harlequins style well, and encourages you to pick targets well, and often go for multi-charges, to utilise the extreme movement boosts this can offer you by effectively getting 10” Moves with units that haven’t attacked yet.
Warlord Trait- Player of the Twilight
Roll a D6 each time any CP are spent, by you or your opponent, you gain a CP on a 6. In addition, if you decide to roll 4+ Dice on the Luck of the Laughing God (see below) you automatically gain a CP. Whilst the two aspects are mutually exclusive, as you’re still capped at 1 CP regen per Round, this gives you the option to get access to more CP in scenarios where you know the rerolls from Luck aren’t as vital as say, a Cegorach’s Jest, and as the game goes on with less CP to attempt to refund from Stratagems, it’s useful to have in your arsenal as a backup.
Relic- Twilight Fang
Ahh the good old reliable Murder Sword, now a Twilight exclusive. An upgraded Aeldari Power Sword with +1 Str and Dmg, it also gives you extra Attacks equal to the current Battle Round, meaning a whopping 5 in the last turn of the game. This enables you to create a blender of epic proportions, especially when combined with various other Stratagems and Warlord Traits. A potent and always reliable weapon for your MASTER.
Stratagem- Malicious Fury
Grants 6s to Hit autowound in melee. For 1 CP this offers some good reliability to offset your low Strength melee attacks, and ties in nicely with your boosted Attacks in the first round to really help pile on the pain. Simple, but effective.
Harlequins have access to a great spread of Stratagems, covering all the bases from damage output, defences, movement and general utility. Each one is generally useful in every game and given your small army size you’ll likely use all of them at least once. Be wary however as a lot of power for the Harlequins is tied to Stratagems, so burning CP early is a danger that can leave you ‘out of pocket’ when you might need to use them later.
Stratagems marked with a * are part of the general AELDARI set of Stratagems, so if you are running a mixed Army, you can’t double up on them, so consider that in list building and in game.
- The Great Enemy*- Reroll Hits and Wounds vs SLAANESH units in the Fight Phase. One of those “fluffy and super limited but also ludicrous against the one army” Stratagems, for 1CP this all but deletes any Slaanesh unit you touch when used on a melee geared unit. Will very rarely come up, but I guess enjoy it when it does…just not too much. Cos Slaanesh.
- Lightning Fast Reactions*- Grants a unit -1 to be Hit for a Phase, which offers a nice defensive boost. The main thing to consider for Harlequins is most of their units already have a built in -1, at least in melee, so this is more useful for INFANTRY and BIKES being shot out in the open, or to offset +1s to Hit. It’s still a great Stratagem to have, and for only 1CP it’s an affordable survivability boost for a crucial unit when they need it.
- Bladestorm*- Grants exploding 6s to your Shuriken weapons. Not terrible for 1CP, though obviously better on massed Shuriken units like Skyweavers or Voidweavers. Can be hilarious on a Death Jester with the Harvester of Torment Role, meaning each 6 does 5 hits, which is pretty brutal in a pinch.
- Prismatic Blur- When an INFANTRY unit Advances more than 8” (ie they Advance and end their Move more than 8” away from their starting position, per the Rare Rules), they get a 3++ until your next Command Phase. Any access to a 3++ is powerful, be it on big units of Troupes or a lone Character that needs to survive. Costly at 2CP, but can be crucial to keep an important unit around for longer.
- Cegorach’s Jest- When an enemy unit Falls Back from an INFANTRY unit, you can Shoot them (if eligible) for 1CP, or Consolidate up to 6” for 2CP. This is a powerful tool to let you keep units in melee with you, punish something from fleeing from you if you have ranged upgrades, or just be used to push onto Objectives or other units if you’re still in melee with something. Whilst costly, this can cause big problems for your opponent, especially if multiple units are engaged and you have options for who to ‘chase’ with. A note for Twilight Saedath, this specifically says a Consolidate of up to 6”, so no adding +2” to it.
- Virtuosos of the Webway- A unit not within 1” of an enemy unit at the end of your Movement Phase can immediately go into Strategic Reserve. Great for redeploying in later turns to a Webway or a section of the battlefield that will need help, to get out of danger, facilitate in performing Missions, or just to keep the opponent on their toes and wary of a new angle of attack. Good utility for only 1 CP.
- Murderous Spectacle- When an INFANTRY unit finishes a Charge, spend 2CP to grant then +1 Dmg to all their Melee Attacks in the following Fight Phase, to a max of 3Dmg per weapon. Costly, but can be utterly devastating, letting you tear through heavy units, Character or mitigate Damage Reduction. Whilst the obvious choice will be on Troupes packed with special weapons or a Solitaire, don’t neglect the option on a humble unit with Blades going to D2 in a time of need.
- War Dancers- Lets a unit of TROUPES Fight Again at the end of the Phase. Comes in at a mighty 3CP, and can only be used once per Battle Round, but this can swing a turn if not game when used well. Whilst often you should have the ability to finish a fight there and then, sometimes this will be needed to ensure a key unit’s destruction. Realistically only usable once per game due to the cost, but should a unit survive intact enough to make use of this, it can be devastating.
- Unparalleled Mastery*- Lets you manifest an additional Psychic Power with a SHADOWSEER you pick at the start of the Psychic Phase. It’s not terrible, but realistically it boils down to “cast a Smite”, as Shadowseers only know and cast 2 powers already. It’s certainly not a bad use of a CP, and there will be times you need to cast both your Phantasmancy powers and a Smite, and it makes for a particularly nasty “Stormseer” if you use both Shards and Mirror with a Smite to pump out some not insignificant amount of Mortal Wounds.
- Multifaceted Mind*- You can cast a Psychic Power after doing a Psychic Action. This is fantastic if you’re leaning into the Warpcraft Secondaries, letting you still contribute your potent powers to the battlefield when needed. Certainly not something to always use, or indeed can always be used, but handy to have for only a CP.
- No Price Too Steep- Fight on death for a CHARACTER for 2CP, if they haven’t already fought that Phase. If a CHAOS model did the killing, or you use it on a SOLITAIRE, they get +1 Str and A when they Fight. Great to counter any Interrupts or Fight Last effects, and makes combat against your Characters, especially the Master or Solitaire, a dangerous prospect. Useless for Dark Saedath of course, outside of the Solitaire, and less useful for Shadowseers and Jesters, but still can be handy in a pinch.
- Heroes’ Path- In your Command Phase grant a TROUPE MASTER and a SHADOWSEER or DEATH JESTER +2” Mv and +1” to Charges. Good for 1CP, giving you utility and a bit of melee reliability, the downside being both must be on the Battlefield, and you need the other to be alive in your army. Not always going to be applicable, but good when it happens.
- Torments of the Fiery Pit- A non-SOLITAIRE CHARACTER gets +1 Str and A for a Fight Phase if they aren’t at full Wounds. Good for a CP to help a wounded Character fight back a bit, especially on a combat geared Master, making them even scarier.
- Dramatic Entrance- An INFANTRY unit can Heroically Intervene 6”. Great to help support other units, defend an Objective or part of the battlefield, or just to further disincentive your opponent coming too close to you.
- Champion of the Aeldari*- Give a Character a Warlord Trait. The Harlequin Warlord Traits, whilst small in number, are amazingly good, and this can help you make some particularly potent Characters. As always with these types of Stratagems, don’t go overboard just because you can, and Harlequins are already a very CP hungry force so you can lock yourself out of good abilities quickly if you spend too much pregame.
- Treasures of the Aeldari*- Give a Character a Relic. As with the above, the Harlequin Relics are generally pretty great, so this can help build some potent Characters, but again as above, don’t spend too much if you can.
- Favoured of the Laughing God- Your WARLORD gets an additional Harlequin Warlord Trait. This can build some very strong Troupe Masters, giving them access to good defences, speed or reliability, on top of whatever other Trait they might have picked.
- Feigned Retreat*- Lets a unit Fall Back and Shoot or Charge for 1CP, or do both for 2CP. This will only affect your VEHICLES as everything else can do it already via Rising Crescendo, and generally you’ll only need them to Shoot, though it can still be helpful to have the option to Charge if needed. Great on a unit of Voidweavers, making them all but impossible to shut down outside of killing them.
- Fire and Fade*- For 2CP a unit can make a Normal Move after Shooting, though you cannot Charge that turn. You can also use it to embark as well, letting you get out of danger and reposition easier in following turns. Whilst costly, it opens up a lot of utility, either to get into range for embarked units, block or pin in enemy units, get out of range or line of sight, or make moves for the Mission. Expensive, but a very versatile and potent ability.
- Phantasm*- Redeploy up to 3 Units before the First Turn begins, for 2CP. Any redeploy ability is great to react to an opening that might present itself should you go first, to counter deploy going second, to allow a safety net in any mistakes you might make, or to react to any of your opponent’s redeploy or pregame moves. Can also be used to put units into Strategic Reserve, giving further flexibility and synergising nicely with the Webway Gate. Whilst you won’t always need to use it, having access to it offers you tons of options.
- Webway Strike*- Place an INFANTRY or BIKER unit into Deep Strike for 1CP, or 2 of them for 3CP. More deployment options are always good, allowing you good utility and flexibility. Costly if used on 2 units, so consider how vital it will be to put 2 into Deep Strike, especially when compared to Phantasm for Strategic Reserves, Webway Gate plays, or Virtuosos of the Webway. Also Harlequins only have a few ways to manipulate Charge rolls, so be wary of banking on 9” Charges from reserves. Still, useful to have units arriving to threaten portions of the battlefield or work towards Missions.
- The Curtain Falls- When an INFANTRY unit would Consolidate, they can instead immediately embark provided all the models are within 6” of a TRANSPORT that could carry them, even if they disembarked this turn. Not bad for 1CP, letting you strike then get out of combat before reprisal, or get back into safety from your opponent’s subsequent shooting. The main issue is needing the Transport that close in the first place, which can then lead to issues such as being wrapped and trapped in the following turn. Certainly not bad, and good to have in your toolkit, but not something that will be used all the time.
- Mocking Laughter- A DEATH JESTER selects an enemy unit within 12” at the start of the Morale Phase, preventing that unit from using Insane Bravery, rerolling their Morale Test, and causing any Actions they are doing to automatically fail if they do fail their Morale. Pretty niche, though cheap at 1CP, and this can ruin an enemies plan, especially when combined with the Jester’s own ability, and provides a handy enough backup should you just not quite manage to kill enough of a unit.
- Haywire Charges- One model in a HAYWIRE GRENADE unit (so a Troupe Master or Troupes), can throw a Haywire Grenade (funny that) at an enemy VEHICLE within 6” instead of shooting normally, doing D3 Mortal Wounds if they hit. It’s fine, and can help bracket or finish off a damaged tank, and can be done in Engagement Range should you decide to stay in melee for whatever reason. Not awful for a CP, but won’t be used all that often.
- Kiss of Death- A unit with HARLEQUIN’S KISS does an additional Mortal Wound for each 6 to Wound in the Fight Phase, to a max of 6 per enemy unit, should you want to split attacks. Good to add on additional damage, be it vs tough or numerous enemies, and cheap enough at 1CP that you’ll probably want at least 1 Kiss in every unit, even those with just Blades, so you can access this as needed. Mutually exclusive with Oblivion’s Caress below.
- Oblivion’s Caress- For 2CP, a unit with HARLEQUIN’S CARESS ignores Invulnerable Saves for a Fight Phase. Quite target dependent, as it is entirely reliant on what the base Saves of the target are- most of your units will be AP2, and units that tend to have an Invulnerable will likely have a 2 or 3+ Sv already, meaning you’re just going to have them save on 4s or 5s anyways. Better for things like Solitaires and Dark Saedath units, and against units with no or low base Sv already this is powerful indeed, but something that needs to be weighed up each time. It is worth noting however, that even with a 3+/4++, this would equate to reducing their Sv by one, a 16% drop in survivability- nothing to sniff at. Can’t combo with Kiss of Death above.
- A Deadly Embrace- When a HARLEQUIN’S EMBRACE unit finishes a Charge Move or Heroic Intervention, pick one non-MONSTER/VEHICLE unit in Engagement Range. Roll a D6 for each Harlequin model in your unit, doing a Mortal Wound for each 4+, up to a max of 6. Great for 1CP, averaging 2-3 Mortals for even a 5 man squad, letting you pick off models on your way in. Whilst unable to affect big things, this activates for everyone even if you only have one model in Engagement Range, letting you always have a good chance of inflicting some potent damage. Less useful on smaller units, and all but worthless on a Troupe Master, but this makes the Embrace a solid buy on any Troupe unit so you can have this up your sleeve.
Your paid upgrade rules, giving you extra rules for Characters in your army. As you’d expect, each one is unique to the army, and a unit can only be given one upgrade.
- Prince of Light- 20pts gives you a 6” Aura of +1 to Charge Rolls for CORE units. Lending reliability to your charges is quite important for Harlequins, and this goes a small but useful way to doing so, albeit at the cost of not helping your Characters.
- Queen of Shards- One of the more expensive Roles at 25pts, but it makes every unmodified 5+ to Wound ignore Invulnerable Saves. This can be horribly powerful when paired with a strong Relic like the Twilight Fang or Cegorach’s Rose, letting your Master deal with many targets. Whilst 5s and 6s aren’t something to be relied upon, this can turn a combat at the right time should you roll well, and with Luck rolls to help you fish for them, can lead to most enemies dead at your hands.
- Veiled King- You always wound non-MONSTER/VEHICLES on a 2+ in Melee. Not shabby for 20pts, given your generally low Strength outside of Relics, but with ways to buff your reliability already, this might not be totally necessary. Can’t really go wrong with it either mind you, so this is rarely a bad choice.
- Harvester of Torment- Exploding 6s with your Ranged Attacks, but its 3 additional hits, not just 1. For 15pts, netting you 4 Hits for every 6 is a pretty potent offensive boost, whether the Jester is being a Character hunter or unit shredder. Whilst it won’t come up every turn, it’s cheap enough to justify for the output it can cause, and those times you roll a double or even triple 6 will pay for itself in hilarity alone. Works very nicely with Favour of Cegorach to guarantee a 6 to Hit each turn.
- Lord of Crystal Bones- When you hit a non-MONSTER/VEHICLE with a Ranged Attack, that unit is at -2” Mv, can’t Overwatch and cannot Set to Defend, until the start of your next turn. This provides good battlefield control by limiting where units can go, as well as offering your units a modicum of protection from any potential damage they might take from stray Overwatch. Not as outright offensive as the other two, but for 20pts this can help dictate flow of the battlefield, precisely what Harlequins want to do.
- Rift Ghoul- 20pts nets you Ignore Cover, and Wound rolls of 4+ do a Mortal Wound in addition. Both are good benefits, and also offer a bit of melee punch as well as they apply to all attacks, should you ever need a Jester in combat.
- Prince of Sins- Grants a built in -1 to Hit, and prevents Reroll Hits against them. For 20pts this is a great defensive buff, providing extra protection against Ranged attacks, and negating any pluses to Hit in melee when combined with their innate -1 to Hit via the Panoply.
- Spectre of Despair- 15pts grants the Solitaire Deep Strike, and every time they Charge, they can roll 3D6 and pick 2. A great upgrade for the deployment flexibility, and the charge boost always being active is great for any situation.
- Thirsting Darkness- Auto Advance 6”, and +3” to Pile Ins and Consolidates. All but ensures you can reach a target you want, and grants you extra options for movement and tagging shenanigans. 20pts is fairly steep for movement buffs, but they are solid improvements.
- Agent of Pandemonium- The most expensive of the Roles at a hefty 30pts, this grants a potent -1 Attack Aura to all enemy units within 6”, making the Shadowseer an even better support piece, able to heavily neuter many units. The main issue with this is many dedicated combat units are already packing a lot of attacks, and often enough to still deal with small units of Harlequins, however the combination of this with their built in -1s to Hit, Invulnerable Saves, the -1 to Wound from the Shadowseer and Luck rerolls can lead to incredibly hard to shift units in close quarters.
- Gloom Spider- Pick a unit within 12” in your Command Phase, and turn off their Auras until your next turn. A very powerful ability for only 20pts, though limited with placement and timing. If this can be aligned in game it can be crippling to an opponent’s gameplan, but it’s not the easiest to use.
- Mirror Architect- A costly 25pts nets you a 6” Aura that makes your units effectively 6” further away for the purposes of enemy shooting. This effectively makes you immune to Grenades, reduces the effectiveness of Rapid Fire weapons, limits close range shots from Deep Strike, and keeps you safer in the early turns. Not quite an autotake as you can hide and deploy defensively, but well worth considering in most army builds.
- Favour of Cegorach- Once per turn, you can make a single Hit, Wound or Save roll the Warlord makes into an unmodified 6. This is a fantastic boost to reliability, and coincides very nicely with the various abilities you have that work on 6s, whether it’s Pivotal Roles, Stratagems or other Warlord Traits. Given this is once a turn as well, this can be used defensively in your opponent’s turn and offensively in yours, and being able to change the dice after knowing the result gives you great flexibility.
- Fractal Storm- Attacks against the Warlord cannot reroll their Hits, Wounds, or Damage rolls. A potent defensive boost, helping to ensure that a miss stays a miss, or that stray Melta shot doesn’t suddenly turn 1 Dmg into a 6 with a pesky CP reroll.
- A Foot in the Future- The Warlord Advances 3+D3” instead of D6”, and gets +6” to their Charge Rolls. Yes, that’s add 6. Not turn one into a 6. That’s a minimum 20” threat range with this monster. This all but guarantees charges from Deep Strike, helps you move into position, and enables you to use your movement shenanigans to optimal effect. Note you still need to be within 12” to declare a Charge, but you will generally make whatever Charge you want with this.
- The Storied Sword- An Aeldari Power Sword with +1 Str and Dmg, that automatically hits. A good stat spread alongside a guarantee of just rolling for Wounds makes this a nice reliable weapon for a consistent Troupe Master. The main issue is the access to rerolls roll manipulation elsewhere means auto hitting, whilst by no means bad, isn’t quite necessary for Harlequins.
- The Suit of Hidden Knives- At the end of the Fight Phase, the bearer makes extra 3 Attacks (only against non-TITANIC units), each one causing 1 Mortal Wound on a hit. A good way to tack on extra damage, especially as it activates every Fight Phase, so this can really stack up throughout the game, especially against tougher targets who survived your initial assault, or to give a support Character a bit of extra oomph.
- Crescendo- A Shuriken Pistol with 6 shots, AP -3 and D2. As far as Pistol Relics go, this is pretty decent, especially given Rising Crescendo means you can always fire at optimum targets, and effectively translates to 6 extra Harlequin Weapon attacks for the bearer, certainly nothing to sniff at.
- Cegorach’s Rose- A Harlequins Kiss with +1 Str and Dmg, as well as granting reroll to Wound. This makes for a very reliable and potent Troupe Master, able to take down most heavy units and Characters around, and even inflict some significant damage on Vehicles or Monsters when needed.
- The Starmist Raiment- Hit and Wound Rolls the bearer can never be rerolled, and once per game they gain a 3++ in your Command Phase, lasting until your next turn. Both are powerful defensive benefits, though the primary issue with the 3++ is needing to be on the battlefield to activate it as it’s in your Command Phase, and it’s not something that can be done reflexively, so timing or prediction is crucial.
- The Laughing God’s Eye- The bearer gains a 6” Aura that gives a 5+++ vs Mortal Wounds for all friendly units. Whilst fairly niche, Mortal Wounds can be devastating to Harlequins who are reliant on their minuses and Invulnerables to stick out a fight, so a layer of defence to help them out can be crucial.
Any Power marked with a * lasts until your next Psychic Phase.
- Twilight Pathways (WC 6)- A CORE or CHARACTER unit within 6” can immediately make a Normal Move, Fall Back or Advance, but they cannot Charge this turn. Whilst no good for early or long charges, this still has great utility, be it for getting into position, out of line of sight, into a Transport, setting up shooting, blocking access points, jumping onto Objectives, or just hampering movement. Movement is key to winning games, and being able to move twice a turn is powerful indeed.
- Fog of Dreams* (WC 6)- A CORE or CHARACTER unit within 12” can only be shot by the enemy if they are the closest eligible target, or within 12” of the attacker. Great for keeping a key unit or character safe whilst they perform Actions, hold Objectives, or just generally make an approach to the enemy.
- Mirror of Minds (WC 7)- An enemy unit within 18” takes D3 Mortal Wounds, and then you roll off. If you win or draw, that enemy unit takes an additional Mortal Wound. You repeat the process until they have taken a total of 6 Mortal Wounds, they die, or your opponent wins the roll off. Expensive to cast, but a very powerful spell, being targettable and ignoring Line of Sight allows you to threaten Characters or high defence units that are in range.
- Veil of Tears* (WC 7)- A visible enemy unit within 18” can only shoot at units within 18”. A bit of an odd power, it has the potential to be very disruptive, but the range limitation isn’t a huge amount on 9th edition boards, and will often mean the caster in question will be in danger themselves. Has uses, but will generally only be useful on key units that are otherwise out of position.
- Shards of Light (WC 6)- A visible enemy unit within 18” takes 1 Mortal Wound, or D3 if they have 6+ Models, or are a MONSTER/VEHICLE. In addition, they suffer -2 Ld until your next Psychic Phase. A pseudo Smite with a minor debuff attached, the limitation of higher damage to certain units makes this less than ideal as a targetable damaging power, though it can still be helpful to finish off a heavily wounded unit or Character. The Ld debuff can be useful, especially when combined with a Death Jester to force Morale checks, or to just disrupt an enemies lines with further casualties, but it’s overall fairly mediocre.
- Webway Dance* (WC 7)- The PSYKER gains a 6” of 6+++ for all units. Whilst only a 6+++ and a high casting value, this can be a crucial defensive benefit to help keep your units around a bit longer, and a great ability to bestow on your VEHICLES for the early rounds of the game, to help ensure they deliver their cargo unharmed.
The following are available if you have a HARLEQUIN WARLORD when playing Matched Play or Grand Tournament Mission, with the usual restrictions.
No Mercy, No Respite - A Deadly Performance
Score 3VP at the end of your Turn if you achieve at least 2 of the following-
- You control an Objective you weren’t controlling at the start of the Turn
- A unit is wholly in the enemy’s Deployment Zone
- 2+ enemy units were destroyed by Ranged Attacks
- 3+ enemy units were destroyed by Melee Attacks
A very game dependent Secondary, this is not realistically something to build around but rather to take advantage of in certain match ups. As you need to do 2 of the 4 conditions each turn, this can sometimes lead to you doing strange movements or target priority in order to attempt to achieve. Some armies can score an easy 6-9 VP on just by killing a few weakened units and positioning well, and then working to get the remaining points, whilst others you’ll be entirely reliant on manoeuvring with little recourse on the killing aspect, trying to scrape by 3-6 VP. Consider your match ups carefully, as to whether you can reliably score this in at least 3/5 turns.
Battlefield Supremacy - Take Your Places
After deployment, you set up a Take Your Places Marker in your opponent’s Deployment Zone, and then they set up 2 Markers, one in your Deployment and one within 6” of the centre of the battlefield. All these Markers must be more than 9” from each other, more than 6” from a battlefield edge, and more than 1” away from Objective Markers. They don’t count as Objective Markers themselves for any other rule, and score you 2VP if you control two of them at the end of your turn, or 4VP if you control all three of them. Depending on your opponent, this can net you some easy points, as they need to consider positioning units to deny you the Markers in your zone, as well as being forced to head to near the centre. Likewise they can fairly easily deny you simple access to the one in your Deployment by it being far away from your forces, out in the open, or just in the far corner to keep a unit at bay. Certainly not a bad choice, depending on how other Secondaries are looking, but be wary about armies that want to come to you and can fight you off these same objectives.
Warpcraft - Weave Veil
SHADOWSEERS can do a once per Phase WC 4 Psychic Action on a unit within 12” that hasn’t been Veiled. On a success, the unit is Veiled, the WC increases by +1, and you score 3VP. Not a terrible Secondary if you’re really pressed for choices, but the short range, once per turn limitation, and being a Psychic Action, means this is a tough one to max out on. With enough units and Shadowseers, you can however get this up to 9VP with ease, and 12 certainly isn’t often out of reach, if you’re happy to lose out on Psychic Powers.
These are rules that will be commonly found across multiple, if not all, units in the Harlequins section of the Codex.
Your dazzling costumes that afford the otherwise flimsy Harlequins a slew of defensive and manoeuvrability benefits. All your INFANTRY have this, granting them a 4++, -1 to be Hit in Melee, and the ability to move horizontally through all models and terrain when making a Normal Move, Fall Back, Advance or Charge. This offers a huge advantage in manoeuvring, as well as making 50% of all blows just fail, if they even hit at all in the first place given the minus. These are always active and always powerful, so don’t forget they exist.
The iconic Harlequins rule, letting your INFANTRY and BIKERS Advance and Charge, as well as Fall Back and Shoot and Charge, giving you unparalleled flexibility in terms of making combat, and dictating the flow as well, effectively never needing to have to worry about ongoing combats unless you choose to, or there is one of the few rules which can prevent Falling Back. Whilst it doesn’t let you get your shots into range any easier, it does help with your choice of targets after charging or being charged, ensuring you can always use your Pistols and Bike weapons on the best target. A great spread of benefits most armies have to pay CP for, this is a key part of the Harlequin identity and playstyle, letting you make longer charges, avoid being tagged, and offering fantastic manoeuvrability.
Your “Pure” rule, you’ll only get this in an all HARLEQUINS Army, and it effectively gives you a number of free Rerolls at the start of each Battle Round, 3 for the standard Strike Force game. You can also “gamble” for more Luck Dice, by rolling up to 6D6 when you generate your base 3, and so long as every dice is different, you get that many Rerolls ie you roll 4D6 and they’re all different, you get 4 extra Rerolls. This doesn’t cost you your base 3, so you’ll always get an extra Reroll if you only choose to roll 1D6, with the following (approx) odds of getting no duplicates as follows-
2D6 – 83% chance
3D6 – 56% chance
4D6 – 28% chance
5D6 – 10% chance
6D6 – 2% chance
As such rolling 2D6 is a safe bet, and rolling any more than 3 is a big jump in risk, so it really depends on how much you need the rerolls. As a general rule, rolling 1-2 is the best bet, and rolling 4 or more should be reserved for utter desperation. As said, you won’t lose your main 3 Rerolls, but 4 or 5 is better than risking for 7-9 and getting 3.
These Rerolls last until the start of the next Round, so no stockpiling, and can be used to reroll any single Hit, Wound, Damage, Save or Advance Roll. Now technically you should slow roll any of these to determine if you’d reroll one, but realistically no-one will mind. The only time you probably should do so is for Save rerolls, as that can dictate whether it would even be worth using them.
This offers fantastic versatility and reliability for your army, ensuring crucial wounds connect, vital Advances aren’t missed out on, or a clutch save is made at the right time, saving your CP for more important Stratagems. The only downside is losing them at the start of each new Round, so they are very much “use them or lose them”, and so can cause some decision paralysis on when and where to use them. Generally Rerolling Saves will generate more value, especially in the early turns, whilst using them for damage output or Objective plays is better in turns 3 onwards, though really, you can’t go wrong no matter which you use them on.
All your Shuriken Weapons get an additional 2AP on 6s to Wound. Shuriken weapons already have a decent base AP, and they are fairly ubiquitous throughout the army, be it on basic Infantry, battle tanks or Aspect Warrior sidearms, so this will crop up fairly often. Why this lets razor thin discs slice through inch thick metal I don’t know, but also, it’s 40k, so…
TROUPES and SKYWEAVERS are CORE LOL. Okay it’s an obvious typo, anyone that tries to argue your basic Troop isn’t CORE needs to go outside and touch some grass.
All your INFANTRY have an 8” Mv, Str and T3 and a minimum of 4A. All your CHARACTERS have 5W
The ringleader of the murder clowns, coming in with a decent 6A on top of his WS and BS 2. With a full set of weapon options, they can be kitted out however you want to facilitate your chosen role. Melee wise you start with a Harlequin’s Blade for -1AP and +1 Attack, albeit at Str 3 and D1. For 5pts, you can take a Power Sword, or for 10pts one of the Harlequin Weapons, giving you the associated Keyword for their Stratagem, and a healthy +1 Str -2 D2 in combat. Ranged options consist of the basic Shuriken Pistol, or for 5pts you can upgrade to either the Neuro Disruptor, which nets you a single shot that does a flat Mortal Wound if you hit a non-VEHICLE (or a Str 6 -3 D1 shot otherwise), or the Fusion Pistol, an always on Meltagun in the form of a 6” Range Pistol. They also provide a 6” Aura of reroll 1s to Wound for CORE units, letting them offer help to their followers as well. Whilst you can load them out however you want, in general you’ll want to be looking at a Relic weapon to really bump them up in terms of output, if that’s your goal, and potentially a Fusion Pistol for some extra close range anti tank. At 75pts they’re cheap enough, though by the time you’ve bought a weapon and sidearm, and maybe a Pivotal Role, they can reach 100+pts quite easy, alongside CP investment, so they aren’t the cheapest or most throw away of Characters if fully loaded, but they can reliably go toe to toe with most things and emerge out the other side.
A magician Clown with real magic, they come with a Mist Stave (it’s a Force Stave) and a Hallucinogen Grenade Launcher (it’s a Drukhari Phantasm Grenade Launcher), alongside a Shuriken Pistol that you can upgrade to a Neuro Disruptor if you feel so inclined. Their key rules are of course being a PSYKER with access to the great Phantasmancy Discipline, Knowing and Casting 2, as well as Denying 1, alongside their Shield From Harm Aura, granting a powerful -1 to be Wounded for all your CORE and CHARACTERS within 6”, a vital defensive buff for your flimsy units. Whilst capable of fighting in a pinch, they’re best off avoiding melee and instead offering support to your army as a whole, shoring up defences and sowing disruption on your enemy. Fairly cheap for 100pts for what they do, albeit before Pivotal Roles (which really shine and are well worth it), but keep them protected as the support pieces they are
You’re one and only Troop choice, but you get a fair bit for it. Coming in squads of 5-12 (cos box reasons…), with WS and BS 3, each one is a skilled combatant, coming standard with a Shuriken Pistol and Harlequins Blade for a pretty cost effective 13pts given their other rules. They can upgrade their weapons to the same spread of choices as the Troupe Master, though only the Kiss can be taken on everyone, with all the other weapons being limited to 2 per squad, or 4 if in squads of 11-12, and only the Leader can take the Power Sword. It will be dependent on what your desired goal will be for each squad, whether it’s to keep them cheap and barebones for Actions or general purpose, kitted for melee to go elite hunting, or with a smattering of Pistols for shooting. Either way it enables a good deal of flexibility for Stratagem access and ranged support, and at 5pts for any of the weapons, it’s worth sprinkling some throughout to give you all the options, as well as some ranged punch. Despite their general cost effectiveness and melee output, they aren’t without issues, as a T3 1W (2W on the Leader) means they will get cut down by massed firepower and attacks, Panoply be damned, and they can struggle significantly against the elite of other armies. Fortunately with your speed you can generally pick your battles, though eventually you will need to commit, and your cost is generally cheap enough that you can make your points back well enough. A thing to consider with the Troupes is they will die, but making their cost back or performing their mission before they do so is the key thing. Whether they are footslogging, emerging from the Webway, or aboard a Starweaver, load them out to handle your goal and commit them when it is suitable.
A Sniper/Ranged support Clown, with BS/WS 2 and 5A, they come with a Shrieker Cannon for a nice Assault 3 30” Range Shuriken Cannon with AP-2 and the ability to ignore Look Out Sir. They also carry a Jesters Blade for +1 Str AP-1 D1 in combat, should you find yourself there, and any casualties they inflict (in either Phase) count as 2 models for the purposes of that turn’s Morale Phase, so they can help force Morale on larger squads, or push even small elite squads over the edge if you use the Jester to set them up. Whilst they don’t do a huge amount of damage on paper, for 55pts they are very cheap for the disruption they can cause, helping you soften units, add to Morale Checks, or force Characters to have to hide, lest they risk a few stray Shuriken shots at them. Provides utility for relatively cheapness, and some with Pivotal Roles sprinkled throughout can make for a nasty firebase that threatens a lot of things in the game for relatively cheap.
The most bonkers of Clowns, who said “Yeah I’ll play the God that eats our souls, sounds like a right laugh”, and then subsequently went all method actor with the rest of the Troupe, becoming basically demi-gods of slaughter on the battlefield. With a whopping 12” Move, WS 2, Str and T 4 and 8A, they are fast and hit like trucks with their Solitaire Weapons, giving them +2 Str AP -3 and D2, as well as the CARESS and KISS Keywords for further Stratagem shenanigans. That’s not all. They come stock with a 3++ making them a pain to shift (especially in conjunction with Luck Rerolls), as well as the Blitz rule that once per game lets them add 2D6” to a Normal Move and +2 Attacks for a single turn, letting you really get to what you want and turn it to fine red mist. The Solitaire is an ideal assassin or infantry blender, and can even take out tanks and big gribblies with a bit of luck, but they aren’t without some downsides. They are one per army, can’t have Relics or Warlord Traits to buff them further, and don’t have the SAEDATH Keyword, which locks them out of a lot of synergies and buffs, including the Characterisations themselves (though they don’t remove them). With no support from Psychic Powers or certain Auras due to the lack of Keyword, they lose out on a bit of defensive prowess, though their 3++ usually makes up for it, and without the SAEDATH Keyword they actually can’t embark on a Starweaver. Whilst fortunately you can just keep up with one on foot, it’s a tad annoying from a gameplay standpoint. Regardless, for 110pts the Solitaire is a scary prospect to face, and their presence alone can cause your opponent to change how they might play in order to counter one in your list, all whilst taking up little in the way of points.
Two Clowns ride around on a Jetbike, netting you a mighty 16” FLY Mv, T4 and 3W. They come stock with a Shuriken Cannon for 3 Heavy Shots at 24” Range at Str 6 -1 D2, and a Star Bolas for a further D3 Assault Blast at 12” with a hefty Str 7 -3 D2. They can be swapped out for a Haywire Cannon or Zephryglaive, respectively, each upgrade costing 5pts a pop. The Haywire affords you a tasty anti tank profile that can also pull anti infantry double duty, with D3+1 Heavy Shots with Blast, Str 3 AP -3 Dmg D3, but vs VEHICLES it always Wounds on a 4+ and does D3 additional Mortal Wounds on a 6. The Glaive gives you an actual use for your 4A (one of the clowns has to drive), netting you +2 Str -2 and D2, giving you some actual Str 5 to use in combat. They also have the -1 to be Hit in Melee and 4++ of the Panoply, and Hits against them can never be rerolled, giving them some decent, if niche, survivability, and auto advancing 6” does lend them the ability to get to wherever needed on the battlefield or charge something, at the cost of most of their shooting. Their main downside is their cost and interactions. Whilst they do benefit from a number of abilities, a lot of the really potent ones are INFANTRY only, and at 45pts a model before upgrades, they aren’t the cheapest thing around for their output, and only climb in cost as you upgrade or add more to units, getting quite pricey for not a huge amount of output. Their role is a bit muddled as well, needing the Glaive to perform in any capacity in melee, and their shooting, whilst good, lends itself to needing larger units for real effectiveness. Coupled with their large models, they aren’t the easiest to hide, and each one lost is costly indeed. Tricky to use, they can afford some fast response and ranged support, but need to be played cagey to keep them impacting the game effectively.
Light tanks with T5 and 6W, but packing a -1 to be Hit, Hits can’t be rerolled against them and a 4++, making them a lot tougher than they first appear. With 2 Shuriken Cannons they have a decent anti infantry spread of firepower, and then a choice of either Voidweaver Haywire Cannon or Prismatic Cannon. The Haywire is effectively a larger version of the Bike version, with 2D3 shots instead, and a nifty Str 4 for anti infantry, but a tasty Dmg 3 for inflicting serious damage to both heavy infantry and tanks. Meanwhile the Prismatic Cannon has 2 firing modes, either 2 Shots at Str 12 -4 2D3 Dmg for hunting big things, or 3D3 shots at Str 5 -3 D1 for scything through Infantry. With 1-3 in a unit for only 90pts, coupled with their 16” FLY Mv, they can effectively get into position to afford potent shooting support for softening if not outright wiping units as your Troupes close in.
A Voidweaver that swaps out their main cannon for a 6 man TRANSPORT Capacity, letting you ferry your flimsy Troupes and Characters towards the frontlines so they can inflict real damage. With the same fast and surprisingly durable statline as the Voidweaver, they can also contribute their 2 Shuriken Cannons for the same softening role, whilst the unit inside remains safe, waiting for the time to strike. With Open Topped as well, those units inside can still contribute their Shooting to the fight, though be wary of counter charges and wrapping and trapping, as whilst they are tough, losing all or the majority of a squad inside to a canny opponent makes them a potential liability if you get too close. Still, for 80pts, the speed and protection they offer, alongside the extra firepower, are well worth the outlay for your smaller squads.
No Aircraft for you. A flying Big Top would be too much for mortal minds to handle.
Clowns are bad enough. A Wraithknight Clown? No thanks.
A pair of towering archways, through which your forces emerge to wreak havoc. Able to set up anywhere on the battlefield that is 12” away from the enemy Deployment Zone and Models (so beware of units that can Infiltrate), the arches must be set up within 3” of each other, and are an Obstacle that offers Light and Heavy Cover, Inspiring to AELDARI, and are unstable. By having them in your army, you halve the CP cost of putting units into Strategic Reserve, rounding down, and units arriving from Strategic Reserve can arrive wholly within 6” of both archways, even if that’s within 9” of an enemy unit, and even in Engagement Range counting as Charging. For 80pts and a fraction of CP, this allows you to effectively deny a portion of the battlefield to the enemy, given the archways size (if set up correctly they will prevent certain units from ever passing through them as they’re so high), as well as effectively netting you a 12” bubble of auto counter charging, with low charge ranges even beyond that. Set up near Objectives for counterplay, the middle of the board for flexibility, or just to block off avenues of the board depending on set up. With cheaper CP costs, as well as Phantasm or Virtuosos to put units in Strategic Reserve in reaction to your opponent, the Gates offer great flexibility and options, for an all told minimal cost.